City of Vicksburg approves changes to part-time EMT schedules

Published 2:43 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution regarding changes to policy in the shift schedules of part-time EMTs in the Vicksburg Fire Department at its weekly board meeting on Wednesday.

The resolution highlights the reasons for adopted changes. The document states that studies have shown shift work to have a negative effect on an employee’s sleep and that the lack of quality sleep can lead to physical and mental health issues.

At the meeting, Fire Chief Craig Danczyk summarized the changes to the scheduling process.

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“In a 14-day pay period, you can work up to 24 hours in the first seven days and up to 24 hours in the next seven days,” Danczyk said. “In modeling the part-time paramedic program, Deputy Chief (Trey) Martin will be the scheduler, making sure that employees are rested when they come to work and they’ll be able to do the 12- or 24-hour shift that they sign up for.”

Many part-time EMTs work more than one job, Danczyk added. The new scheduling is meant to ensure that those employees are well rested for the long shifts required at the Fire Department.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. weighed in on his decision to support the proposal.

“I was initially against all this changing back and forth. But I think the time has come where you’ve got to be more flexible with people working to make certain you have a full workforce to deliver the service,” Flaggs said. “Chief Danczyk broke my back on that one. He did good.”

The adopted resolution requires part-time EMT employees to demonstrate that they are not working more than 48 consecutive hours and have ample time for sleep between jobs/shifts.

Danczyk said he is pleased with the results.

“It’s working, and it’s budget-friendly also, on a personnel budget. So I think we made a good decision and I thank the support of the Board members on it,” he said.

Flaggs also mentioned possibly looking at schedule changes for other city employees that work outside in the heat.

“We may have to start looking at 10-hour days and some other mixed schedules for this heat for summer months. …We need to do what we need to do to make sure our employees don’t get exhausted,” he said. “Because safety is first.”